Planning on buying a laptop in Argentina? Of course not. Prices are insanely high and you would much rather have that awkward talk with your third cousin who’s going to Chile for the weekend to ask him if he would mind sneaking a computer in his luggage for you. Well, those days are close to being over, so hold on to that old piece of junk that takes literally 15 seconds to load Facebook — who’s got 15 seconds these days? The government yesterday confirmed the decision to eliminate the 35 percent tax on computer imports as of late March next year.
This will represent a drop in the final prices, but there are disagreements between government representatives and the private sector about how steep the price drop will actually be. Domestic Trade Secretary Miguel Braun told the media that “prices will be closer to Chile’s, and will amount to an average 50 percent decline.”
But a private sector source told Infobae that the drop will “oscillate between 10 and 12 percent,” adding that any higher decreases would mean the government would also remove other associated taxes.
Beyond the price itself, government officials are also taking pains to highlight that the quality and quantity of what is available will also improve: “Without competition we have obsolete, expensive computers and under-employed workers with low salaries,” Braun said. “A computer is 80 percent more expensive here than in Colombia, 50 percent more than Chile and 175 percent more than in the United States. Families and small and medium-sized companies have to face those extra costs,” sources from the production ministry added.
Not everyone is as happy as we are though. The Metal Workers’ Union (UOM) and more than 15 IT companies were quick to warn that there are 5,500 people whose jobs are tied to computers and laptops’ assembly lines and that half of them would be suddenly out of a job once the measure is approved.
The government, counters the naysayers by saying that only 1,000 people would actually be affected by the decrease in taxes and there are plans in place to assure they’ll be able to secure new employment.
In order to make sure Argentine-assembled laptops are still appealing to some, the government will expand current financing plans to make sure they can be bought in 18 or 24 installments.